OSU rookies will benefit from early start

OREGON STATE's INCOMING recruiting class gets an early -- and significant -- start before fall camp begins at Oregon State. And a quick check of the rule book provides a little more clarity on the roster crunching that occurs prior to fall camp before, when classes start, there's a sudden influx of familiar and new faces for when the rosters increase.

The entire incoming OSU freshman recruiting class is expected to arrive in Corvallis by July 6 for Oregon State's "bridge program" which gives incoming student-athletes a head start on college life.

But what it also does is allow, because those rookies will enroll in summer coursework, is to start participating in the football program's offseason voluntary workouts.

That's a rather large benefit.

With the rookies working out with the veterans for a month before fall camp, getting that head start football-wise before camp opens, that's significant. And it should pay dividends for the upcoming season.

Indeed, Jacquizz Rodgers and his classmates will be that much more ready to compete for playing time when the pads go on in camp.

Meanwhile, the NCAA limits the number of players a school can field to start fall camp at 105. That means with a recruiting class now in the fold, a school is limited to appx. 20 walk-ons at the outset of the fall camp.

But rosters do expand when classes start.

While it remains likely only one of the walk-on quarterbacks -- Zach Anderson, Justin Engstrom and Brennan Sim -- will be invited to open fall camp, the other two could still return after the academic session begins at OSU.

The same holds true for the three walk-on punters; Kyle Harper, Josh Makepeace and Sean Sehnem.

With Engstrom, Sim and Anderson, whoever is invited to fall camp looks the be the No. 3 quarterback with the starting job still to be sorted out this fall between Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield. Promising freshman Ryan Katz is expected to be redshirted this season by Riley.

And you never know how important a role a No. 3 signal caller might end up playing. Most seasons, the No. 3 quarterback isn't forced into action but consider what happened at UCLA this spring.

In the penultimate practice before the Bruins' spring game, both the Nos. 1 and 2 quarterbacks, Pat Cowan and Ben Olson, went down with long term injuries, in non-contact drills, and one of them is lost for the season. The other is out for at least the next eight weeks.

Suddenly, Kevin Craft will be running summer skelly and could end up the starter when UCLA opens the season depending on how Olson's rehab and fall camp go.

A decision on which QB and punter will be invited to fall camp probably won't happen for at least another week.

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